NEW DELHI: Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah is likely to be given charge of the Finance Ministry in the second term of Narendra Modi government that will take oath on Thursday. Shah, who was a Rajya Sabha member resigned from the upper house on Wednesday after he won the Lok Sabha election from the Gandhi Nagar Lok Sabha seat.
The BJP president created history by winning the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat with a margin of 5.57 lakh votes against his nearest Congress rival CJ Chavda. Shah polled 8.94 lakh votes, while Chavda secured 3.37 lakh votes.
The Finance Ministry in the first term was held by Arun Jaitley but owing to his ill health, he has formally requested the PM to be not be given any official responsibility in the next ministry. In a letter to Modi, Jaitley wrote, "During the last eighteen months, I have had some serious health challenges. My doctors have enabled me to emerge out of most of them. After the campaign had concluded and you were leaving for Kedarnath, I had orally informed you that even though I was able to discharge the responsibilities assigned to me during the campaign, I would in future, for some time, like to keep away from any responsibility. This will enable me to concentrate on my treatment and health."
Modi and Shah had met earlier in the day to finalise the members of the new Council of Ministers including those who will be part of the Cabinet. Sources said that during the meeting, which lasted for about five hours, the two leaders have finalised the names of new ministers.
It is expected that PM Modi and around 65 ministers would take oath on Thursday. Sources said that the new ministry would be a mix of experience and youth, and the BJP would also like to strike the right regional and caste balance with it.
Sources said that key ministries like home, finance, defence and external affairs may see some changes. It is expected that the prime minister would not go for major change in important ministries and may repose faith in old ministers like Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari etc. It is, however, expected that West Bengal, Odisha and the Northeast where the BJP performed exceeding well in Lok Sabha election 2019, will find good representation in the new ministry.
The oath ceremony is scheduled to take place at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday evening at 7 pm and it will be attended by leaders from BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) nations. The list includes Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand and also Nepal and Bhutan.